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|Posted by The YCLA on March 12, 2013 at 8:10 PM||comments (0)|
Check out the new Creation Tower class, targeted for kids grades 3-6, at www.yclalliance.org/creationtower! The theme verse is Proverbs 18:10 - "The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe."
Also, follow our Twitter feed: @KnowYourCreator.
R. Josiah Magnuson
Sometimes Aesop’s fables are misrepresented. In probably one of the most famous, the tortoise challenges the hare to a race. The hare sees the possibility as ridiculous, but goes along for the fun. The hare is so confident of his ability to win the race that after running within sight of the finish line, he lays down and goes to sleep. However, the tortoise slowly inches past the hare and steps over the finish line, just as the hare wakes up to realize his mistake. “Slow and steady wins the race.”
Many times this story is applied to say that a slow approach will triumph over a fast one. Yet, does slowness always win? While it is true that we need to be careful and not try to achieve things too fast, the more important issue is not to lose focus. Whether one is quick or slow, the “steady” is the bigger part of the equation.
In Scripture, we see countless examples of individuals who God called on to fulfill a mission. Sometimes He asked them to go slowly and wait, and sometimes He asked them to achieve a goal immediately. The common factor among those who were successful – those who endured to finish the task – was a steady focus on God’s will.
Paul emphasized, “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:13-14)
The Bible often compares the Christian life to a race. It is like a marathon in which the runners must put all their strength into competing and overcoming if they are to win. How can we have this kind of focus? What should most carefully receive our attention?
Faith in God – Hebrews 12:1 tells us to put aside everything that weighs us down, especially the sin of unbelief which “so easily besets us.” We need to daily renew a true faith in God. As Heb. 11:6 states earlier, “He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Our Creator is alive! He will reward us if we are committed to Him.
The best way to gain faith is to read and meditate on Scripture (Rom. 10:17). The Bible tells us we will have good success if we immerse ourselves in it day and night (Josh. 1:7-8, Psalm 1:2-3). Every step we take in the race of life must be illumined by God's Word. With light from Scripture, and the faith that results from it, we can have a proper focus in our day-to-day decisions (Psalm 119:105, Prov. 4:25-27).
Fellowship with Christ – The “mark” Paul states he is pressing towards in Philippians 3:14 is described in verses 8 through 11. Paul’s goal is to “win Christ, and be found in Him.” His reason is “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
As believers, we are dead and our lives are “hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3-4). It should be our purpose to have close fellowship with Christ – even in His sufferings and death – so that we can join in the power of His resurrection! When we view life from this perspective, we gain a right attitude and can thus have true joy. Peter expounds on this point, telling us that we are called to have endurance, suffering patiently, because Christ also suffered for us. In His likeness, we will be glorified! (I Peter 2:19-14)
Finish Line – The end of the race awaits us. We must finish the course faithfully, for those who love Christ will be awarded a crown of righteousness from the Righteous Judge (II Tim. 4:7-8)! Our focus should be on eternity. Our vision should be to bear fruit that lasts, not of this world where it will decay, but in the kingdom of our Heavenly Father. True endurance – in which we do not “run in vain” (Phil. 2:16) – requires uniting with other believers to hold forth the Word of life to a dark and perverse society around us. When we remember that our value does not stem from this life, but from treasure in the next, we are inspired to fight for the prize and succeed for God’s glory. (I Cor. 9:22-27)
The race we are running is a war. Endurance, by definition, involves struggle. Spiritual attacks – and even physical ones – will come to the bold soldier of Christ. But boldness in Christ’s example is boldness in a history-long celestial campaign for the honor of our God, fought in the hearts of men. That campaign cannot fail.
The Apostle James told us, “Behold, we count them happy which endure.” (James 5:11) If we remain steadily focused, enduring to the end, we will have the privilege of joining in Christ’s triumph. We will have the joy of laying our crowns at His feet.
Will you finish the race as a tortoise or a hare?
R. Josiah Magnuson
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
Have you ever wondered why there are four Gospels in the New Testament? They're not just different random viewpoints. They actually each were written to express a specific element of Christ's perfect leadership.
Jesus Christ truly came to Earth to atone for our sins with His blood. No one else could provide a perfect sacrifice. But Christ also came to Earth to be our example. He came so that we could know what a perfect life was to look like. In every area, Christ was confronted with the same challenges that we are confronted with. He was tempted in every way we are tempted. Yet, He did not sin. The life of Christ thus provides a standard by which to measure our own lives.
Scripture is clear that we are to follow Christ in all things. For example, Luke 6:39-40 tells us, “Can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch? The disciple is not above his master: but everyone that is perfect shall be as his master.” We are not to look to fallible humans for our ultimate leadership, but to God. This was the reason for the incarnation: to bring God to man.
Looking at the manner the Bible presents Christ, we can observe His perfect personality is composed of four areas. The prime example of this truth is indeed seen in the four Gospels.
Matthew: Legislative - Matthew presents Jesus as the King who came to save His people from their sins (Matt. 1:21). It shows Him to be the “Wonderful Counselor” who gives the Law of His Father. Here, Christ exemplifies the character and power of the Lion. Volition – the power of decision – is shown to be something Jesus Christ perfectly manifests, and something He perfectly cultivates in His followers. Christ the King commands situations where it is necessary, yet allows others the freedom to question, to express themselves, and to make choices. He is the Messiah who was authoritatively prophesied, and He gives us the commission to go into all nations and authoritatively teach the truth. Matthew demonstrates that Christ is our example in the area of decisions - the legislative.
Mark: Executive – Mark presents Jesus as the mighty Servant who takes action for God (Mark 1:7-8 ). Christ works with “immediately” obvious results. Mark shows Christ to be the “Mighty God” who exemplifies the character and strength of the Ox. In this book, Christ is also seen to be a person of emotion, who cultivates perfect emotion in His followers. The emotion is one of awe and astonishment at His miracles! Mark demonstrates that Christ cares about His people enough to serve them with strength possible only through God’s omnipotence. Christ is our example in the area of action – the executive.
Luke: Judicial – Luke presents Jesus as a man of certainty (Luke 1:4). It shows Him to be a thoughtful, philosophical Person; yet, not one who is constantly striving for answers, but One who has them. Christ is the “Everlasting Father” who is our trustworthy leader. He has the “Face of a Man” to relate to all our needs. In this book, Christ demonstrates His mastery of every situation. He can sympathize with us no matter what we are going through, because He has been there before! (Heb. 4:15) Even better, He has a solution for each problem! (Heb. 2:17-17) Jesus Christ is our example in the area of reason – the judicial.
John: Spiritual – John presents Jesus as the Son of God who came to Earth out of love for humanity. (John 1:1-5, 17-18 ) Here, Jesus Christ is the divine Creator, the Source of life and light. He is thus a Person of mysterious paradoxes, bringing infinite knowledge to finite men. His power is seen in nine “sign miracles” which sample each quality of His divine nature. Rather than being an earthbound creature as in the first three Gospels (as Lion, Ox, and Face of a Man), Christ is presented as the Eagle coming down from the heavens. He is the “Prince of Peace” between God and man, as well as between man and man. He is a leader with a vision: He came to “dwell” with us (John 1:14) so we can “dwell” with Him forever! (John 14-15) Christ is not only perfect in regards to earthly leadership, but He is perfect in regards to leadership from the Other World to which He calls us – the spiritual.
The four perspectives in the Gospels are the Biblical elements of Christ’s example. Christ is a leader of decision, action, reason, and vision. We are to follow Him in each of these areas. We must make decisions based on His Law. We must act with compassion and mercy. We must think and respond to each situation in meekness yet with resolve. And, we must live in Christ’s light, trusting His purpose and showing love to others.
Christ’s leadership is the best. By following Him, we can lead others in a way that is both godly and effective. More importantly, we will point those we lead towards salvation in Christ and eternal life through faith in Him.
R. Josiah Magnuson
“That’s your truth. I have mine.” This is the fundamental assertion of a post-modernist. Postmodernism claims there is no absolute truth – no reality basic to all people. Rather, it holds that every person creates their own reality from their own experiences and perceptions.
A post-modernist may accept that Christ is the Savior for some people, but will reject the need for Christ as the only Savior for all humanity. Is there a way to defeat this philosophy?
First, God’s Word is the starting point to defeat post-modernism. Christ told us, “If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32) God’s worldview is the basis for knowledge. Unless we start with His perspective, we cannot understand existence, or even know existence is real. The Bible states, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). The Bible also indicates in numerous places that God cannot lie or contradict Himself. Thus, reality (as God’s creation) is valid and concretely definable. However, if we start with any other premise, we become irrational since we cannot trust our own minds. The big question for post-modernism is, “How do you know?”
Second, logic defeats post-modernism. A postmodernist asserts, “There is no absolute truth.” This statement is actually an absolute truth in itself. Thus, if that statement is true, then it is false. Something cannot be both true and false. In response, a post-modernist may assert that he does not agree; he does not believe in the law of noncontradiction. Your reply would be, “Thus you do believe in the law of non-contradiction?” to which he would reply, “No, I just told you I didn’t.” By making such a statement, he is demonstrating that he in fact does believe in the law of noncontradiction, because he believes in the existence of falsehood.
Third, love must be the foundation of our effort. It is the Holy Spirit who must make alive the hearts of those we speak to. The Spirit works through love in the actions and attitudes of believers. Our materialistic culture has bred pride, bitterness, and covetousness, which hinders people from accepting absolutes. It follows that it must be our purpose to reach out humbly, forgivingly, and sacrificially for others. We must “take up our cross daily” to serve Christ in serving those around us.
It is important to recognize that the post-modernist will not be won by logic, although logic is a help along the way. It may also be that the Bible solely as a book of principles will not win the post-modernist. The post-modernist will be drawn to Christ through the love of God’s people, and the work of the Spirit, as he experiences the adventure of God’s living words!
Post-modernism ends in irrationality since under this way of thinking, the world might simply be our imagination. Presenting the wonderful stories of Scripture is the basis to breaking irrationality (John 20:31), because the hearing of Scripture brings faith (Romans 10:17). Further, as faithful brothers and sisters, our lives corroborate the truth of God’s family (John 13:55).
What would your life tell a post-modernist? Does your life conform to the truth of Scripture? Are you a disciple of the Person of Truth, Jesus Christ, or are you wandering on paths of peril?
|Posted by Theodora on November 1, 2011 at 11:15 AM||comments (0)|
"Defeating Post-Modernism" Assignments!
Just firing off an update from the Strategy Group meeting this morning. We discussed preparations for the exciting upcoming event on November 5th, "Defeating Post-Modernism" which will be at Roper Mountain Baptist Church.
The event begins at 7:00 p.m. and although scheduled to run through until 10 p.m., likely won't be that long. There will be fellowship, valuable information, and delicious pizza afterwards.
I would like to note that certain assignments have been given to various YCLA members, and are such as follows:
- David Killinger shall bring beverages
- Justin Summerlin is in charge of plateware and ice
- Matt Wally will be picking up the pizza and leading music - I think the songs we chose were "The Bible Stands", "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" and "A New Life in Christ"
- The Goulds will be in charge of some cookies for dessert
- Josiah Magnuson will create the program for the evening.
More info can be found at the public Facebook Event page!
Ten Commandments Series
It should be noted that the Ten Commandments study series will begin in two weeks. Remember when you picked which commandment you'd like to study and talk about? This is that assignment! You'll be teaching a mini-lecture for about 5-10 minutes, so study up - you never know if someone may have a question about your topic afterward!
Krispy Kreme Fundraiser Dues
On a final note - YCLA members, this is important!
The Creation Museum was a blast. Please remember that if you owe anything or have not sold your certificates for Krispy Kreme doughnuts, you need to do so ASAP so we can pay David back for his generous investment. He spent $500.00 to buy all the doughnuts and certificates and not all of it has been returned to him via profit, leaving him in the red. Don't settle for debt - if you can't sell the certs to others, consider buying them yourself (hey, they're fantastic Christmas gifts for local loved ones!) or donating a set amount of money to the YCLA to help pay off the costs. We appreciate your cooperation!
I think that's all for now. Keep tuned for more meeting and event updates from yours truly and the other awesome bloggers.
|Posted by The YCLA on August 27, 2011 at 6:55 PM||comments (0)|
“But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2b)
As we saw in The Will of God Part 1, many people think the will of God is to know who to marry and what job they will have when they are young. God generally does not reveal specific answers to us, but he does give us clear directions and steps about following His good, acceptable, and perfect will. The first part of following God’s will is to not conform to the world. The second part is to be transformed by renewing your mind.
“Transforming” is in direct contrast to “conforming.” Conforming is to become like, whereas transforming is total change from the inside out. Another word for this transformation is metamorphosis. Think of the process an ugly caterpillar goes through to become a beautiful butterfly. It must go into a cocoon stage where the worm is transformed. Every part of its anatomy is changed from its physical inside to its beautiful outside.
So how are we transformed? We need to renew our mind! Renewing has the idea of renovating. When a house is renovated, it often needs to be totally “gutted” out. All the walls, carpet, counters, cabinets, toilets, and showers are taken out and thrown away. Our mind sometimes is just like that renovated house that needs to have the corrupt or unprofitable thrown out. Throw out the garbage that the world has so cunningly flooded your mind with, turn off the worldly influence of your TV and iPod, and get your Bible out.
The word "mind" is mentioned 92 times in the KJV. While scanning through the verses I found a majority of them talking about being of “one mind,” “of the same mind,” or “be likeminded.” I would encourage you to look up these 92 times the word “mind” is mentioned. Much could be said about the mind, but I want to focus in on what Philippians 2 says about the mind of Christ. (Notice in verse 2 the mention to be “of one mind.”)
Though we are heirs of the King of Kings, let’s have the mind of a servant and be humble. I challenge you to be transformed by renewing your mind to have the mind of Christ.
R. Josiah Magnuson
Who are we trying to please? The Bible gives numerous clear directives that the motivation for the believer in living a life of distinction be different from the motivation of the world. Our service is not for ourselves but to glorify God.
True Christianity is not a “celebrity” activity. Because we are different, the world hates us and seeks to persecute us. We will never change the world’s opinion of us if we continue to live godly lives. As II Timothy 3:12 declares, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Rather, our motivation should come from a desire to please Christ, experience His resurrection power, and bring Him glory by sharing His truth with others.
One example of Scripture on this issue is I Thessa-lonians 2:4-6. “As we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth the hearts. For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness, God is witness. Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others…”
Galatians 1:10 continues the theme of seeking to please God rather than men. “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”
Interestingly, the Bible also contains direction that we try to please those around us as much as possible. For example, I Corinthians 10:32-33 tells us, “Give none offense, neither to the Jews nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”
Scripture encourages us to maintain a good reputation. Proverbs 22:1 states, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver or gold.” One of the requirements of a bishop (church overseer) given by Paul is to “have a good report of them which are without” (I Timothy 3:7).
Is the Bible being contradictory? Is God telling us to both please others and not please them? In the passage from I Corinthians 10, the answer is found in the immediately preceding verse (v. 31): “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
There is no problem with seeking to show respect and kindness to everyone. There is not even a problem with just wanting people to be happy with our actions. The problem enters when our motivation becomes service to self. We are to seek to serve others and lead them to salvation in Christ, making our ambition that of bringing glory to God.
For example, Luke 10:27 shows our primary duty: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” We are to love and serve God alone. But, this love for God is not to the exclusion of a love for others. We are to show love to others as an expression of our love for God. As Jesus said in Matthew 25:40, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
Romans 15:1-2 tells us, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, ‘The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.’”
Just as Christ bore our infirmities, we should bear the infirmities of others and seek to edify (build up and encourage) them. It is in this way that we are to “please” others. But we are not to seek others to shine spotlights on us as we bask in the dim glitter of condoning sin or smoothing over untruth. Nor are we to promote our own goodness or importance. The glory must go to Christ.
Christ wants us to make peace, show love, and build good character. However, we must follow His example in doing so. This path often leads through times of suffering and persecution. The world will not generally appreciate the efforts of the Christian to be a light in its darkness. We will need to make hard choices. But the life of finding rewards that last is truly the life of fixing our eyes on our God, the eternal Rewarder.
Pleasing ourselves, or attempting to please other people so we can please ourselves, is pointless. We can please the One who gives us all we have, Who can make us everything we need to be.
R. Josiah Magnuson
Christ’s peace is different from the world’s peace. The peace Christ offers requires intense decision-making, obedience, and often, suffering. Christ’s peace is only made by the power of the cross.
This afternoon brought a brief yet heavy Carolina rain shower to the landscape around my office. A large pool of water filled up in a low place in the parking lot, creating a shallow yet sparkling pond. Several fronds of tall summer grass, evidently having escaped through cracks in the asphalt, stood majestically erect above the water, as if imagining themselves to be great lake reeds. The only movement on the surface of this tranquil ocean was the reflection of the happily singing birds fluttering in the light of the slowly setting sun. As a breath of evening breeze touched my face, I thanked the Lord for this beauty. The thought crossed my mind that this was a glimpse of what true peace looks like.
True peace does not require a perfect environment. It does not rely on the standards of the world, or the approval of a consensus. Rather, it is found by satisfaction and contentment – a tranquility of heart – in accepting the person and work of Jesus Christ. True peace also requires obedience to His commands. In making peace within ourselves and with others, we must believe Christ enough that we put into practice His method for doing so.
The world has its own ideas about peace. The world projects a false song that tells us we can achieve peace, joy and love through our own goodness. A simple Internet search reveals such diverse projects as “Coffee for Peace,” “Writing for Peace,” “Boycott for Peace,” and even “Knitting for Peace.” While each of these efforts is probably well intentioned, and it is possible some have even contributed to the end of various conflicts, no human effort can ultimately create the peace we all long for.
Human nature remains unchanged since Woodrow Wilson declared World War I “the war to end all wars.” Worldwide conflict has only escalated even through every effort to quell it. We can probably all agree that today, the cause of peace as promoted by the world is not moving along very smoothly.
Christ told us, “Peace I leave with you – My peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” (John 14:27) He has already made true peace for us. The Apostle Paul states Christ’s work was such that, “…In all things He should have the preeminence… having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” (Col. 1:18b, 20) When we have peace with Christ, and our identity is in Him, we can have peace with everything else, because He is at peace with all things!
The reason Christ’s peace is different is that it is made by means of the cross. Christ’s way is one of suffering. Sacrifice is the essence of true love. In order to build peace, we must be willing to sacrifice and suffer for others. In fact, we must actively take initiative to “take up the cross daily”! (Luke 9:23) We must follow Christ no matter what.
One area in which Christ has given us a path to follow is that of personal offenses. If someone wrongs us, we are not to spread gossip or evil remarks, nor are we to disassociate immediately from the person. Rather, we can find reconciliation using the method of Matthew 18:15-17.
First, Christ says to go and talk to the individual who has offended you. Chances are the person did not even intend to hurt you, so give them the benefit of the doubt. If in any way possible, this conversation should take place face-to-face. Don’t settle for Facebook or phone calls if you can physically sit down and talk to the person. And, if someone wants to tell you a bad report, don’t listen. Ask them if they have talked to the person first.
Second, Christ tells us to take another person or two along, to talk with the offender again. If they do not understand or listen to one individual, perhaps someone else can communicate the problem better. However, if the offender still refuses to hear, these extra persons will act as witnesses to verify the situation.
Third, Christ commands that we bring the issue before the church. The offending person will then be addressed by the church body and appropriate leaders.
Finally, if the offender still will not listen, he is to be treated as an unbeliever, and not remain in church fellowship. This extreme option is only to be used after each of the previous points is exhausted.
Another command that encourages peace is that of the Sabbath. God has given us this day to rest from our earthly labors, just as He did from His. (Exod. 20:8-11) It provides a time of release in which we can put our focus back on our Creator. God promises great reward to those who honor the Lord’s Day. (Isa. 58:13-14, Mark 2:27-28 )
God ordains that His children have rest and peace. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matt. 5:9) While the world expects peace to involve compromise on all sides, Christ teaches that peace is principled and one-sided. The making of peace is our obligation. (Rom. 12:18-21) We are to follow Christ’s example and trust Him, even though it may bring us suffering. Then, others will be brought to true peace through the forgiving, reconciling work of the cross.
Like the pool of rainwater in the parking lot, we are called to provide tranquility even though our environment is rough and unfriendly. But, our Savior understands everything He calls us to do (Heb. 4:15). He has made the way for us to have peace in His identity. “Let us therefore come boldly before the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (v. 16)
It is on the power of God that true peace rests. As David stated, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” (Psalm 20:7)
|Posted by The YCLA on June 29, 2011 at 9:09 AM||comments (0)|
Here is a sweet video from our friends over at Ultimate Quest.
R. Josiah Magnuson
One of the most important points to proper leadership is being able to develop and communicate a vision. For believers, a vision has been set for us by our great Leader, Jesus Christ. We are called to bring others into His kingdom and serve and teach them in His Way. As we seek to set a godly example for those around us, the Bible tells us we need to have the mind of Christ.
We need to have a correct capability to make decisions, a correct standard for taking action, and a correct motivation for our work. When we cultivate purity in these three areas, we are cultivating the vision that will unite our fellow-believers in “likemindedness.” (Phil. 2:1-2)
Philippians 1:9-11 reads: “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”
The mind of Christ requires a spirit of love. But love cannot exist alone; love must be defined in “knowledge and all judgment.” Judgment means making decisions. Not only must we know the truth, we must make choices based on that truth. Scripture provides at least three specific guidelines for proper judgment. We are never to measure others in a way in which we are unwilling to measure ourselves. (Matt. 7:1-5) We are never to judge situations only according to how they immediately appear. (John 7:24) And, we are never to judge anything “before the time.” (I Cor. 4:5) Christ told us in Matthew 7:16, regarding false prophets, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” Often fruits take time to ripen. Thus, we can see that God expects us to have a consistent standard, to look at both sides of an issue carefully, and to take time and show patience to others.
The mind of Christ also requires “approving things that are excellent.” We need to seek out education, outreach, and even entertainment according to the highest quality of purity. We are children of the King, and we are called to represent Him. Especially as we grow as leaders, others will be looking to us to “set the bar” in Godly living. We have a responsibility to be the best we can be. We should examine ourselves constantly to maintain adherence to Scripture. Philippians 4:8-9 provides us with a much-needed compass to direct the focus of our thoughts. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you."
Finally, the mind of Christ requires that we “be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.” We need to be people of integrity. How can we have a continued right motivation in the face of the constant dishonesty and fleshly desires of the world? The verse itself provides the answer: “the day of Christ.” We are enabled to have Godly motivation when we maintain watchfulness for Christ’s coming. Because this world is quickly passing away, any attempt to invest our lives in it will bring sorry returns. However, we can place our treasures in heaven “where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” (Matt. 6:20) Christ told us, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8 ) God wants us to seek to see Him. When our focus is placed beyond this life, our motivation will be from beyond this life as well.
A united purpose creates a united cause. While “a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8 ), like-mindedness in Christ creates stability and efficacy. When we learn and integrate the principles of God’s Word, and in doing so purify our hearts, we serve our fellow-believers by providing a standard of excellence around which we can all unite. This fact is possible because the focus is then placed not on us as individuals, but on our great Leader, Jesus Christ. We can all be of one mind when we each set our eyes on Him.